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Six Most Important Things to Know When Buying a Beachfront House in Costa Rica

Purchasing a beachfront house in Costa Rica is a dream of many. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to the sound of the waves and an ocean view every day? But a perfect property by the beach isn’t just something that you purchase on a whim. Beach properties can be one of the most rewarding investment opportunities. This is especially true in tropical countries like Costa Rica.

If you want to buy a beachfront home, there are risks and lessons to learn, just like any other investment. These tips can assist you in making the most of your real estate investment. So, whether you’re looking for a vacation home or a rental property, here are some tips for you. Let’s make sure you don’t get stuck with a lemon — or, better yet, find your perfect Costa Rica real estate.

1. Buying a beach property in this beautiful country isn’t like buying any other properties for sale

It’s spectacular having one of those beach houses in a foreign tropical country. Yet, there are certain extra concerns to keep in mind when purchasing one.

This type of information in this article is most likely sought by a foreign investor. So, if you’re considering investing in Costa Rican real estate and you are not a local, hear this. You’ll need all this information to make a great investment here in this country. 

Is it worth it to invest in a beach house?

First and first, let’s address a very fundamental but crucial question. Is having a beach house in Costa Rica worth it?

There are many benefits of owning a beach house in a popular tourist destination. One of which is offering significant potential for a big return on investment. Owning a beach house in an ideal location like Costa Rica has a good chance of having the property to pay for itself. 

Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in Central America. This is primarily because of its beaches and ecotourism. So, many beach property buyers here are not only seeking a place to call home. Many beachfront property owners also rent out the property to tourists. 

Many claims that renting out their beach properties during peak season is profitable.  It can cover all their expenses for the year.  This earns them a steady income stream. Plus, they get to use the property for free during the off-peak season. Costa Rica, being one of the top tourist destinations in the world, ensures positive cash flow. 

Owning beach properties in a tourist hotspot like Costa Rica is a great investment. Invest in a dream property while considering other income possibilities. 

Property management is crucial when you buy property in the beach areas

Properly managing this type of property is important. The upkeep of beach properties is different from others. It’s one thing beachfront property buyers should know.

It typically costs more to maintain beach houses. The insurance is also more expensive. That is why it is smart to rent it out to cover these expenses. Yet it is not that easy to maximize the profits of a vacation house. It requires good property management skills to maintain a positive cash flow. 

Work with people who can assist you. Preferably those who have previous experience in properties like this. You will need their expertise so that you can avoid mistakes and more headaches. Because these can potentially lead to bigger costs. 

For properties like these, prevention is better than major fixes. You can prevent incidents happening in your vicinity as well if it is properly managed. With that said, it is worth finding a property management professional.  He/she can help you to deal with the common headaches of owning a vacation or rental property. 

2. Understand the technicalities before you buy beachfront properties

You should also be familiar with local legislation, notably marine law in Costa Rica. When you own beachfront property, you must comply with a number of restrictions. This is because it is fairly likely that a portion of it is government-owned land.

Before you sign any Costa Rica contract, double-check the property you plan to buy. Does it have the zoning that permits you to do what you want with it? Are you planning construction and major developments in the property? Make sure all is legally possible.

Most people get overwhelmed understanding the local laws of other countries. Each country has its own interpretation of its laws. You must understand them fully in this case. This is not to discourage you, but to prepare you. So that once you are set to look for your dream property, there is nothing else to stop you from there. 

It’s true that foreigners can buy a property in Costa Rica, but it is a more complex process in coastal regions. It is critical for investors to grasp Costa Rica’s Maritime Zone Law if they want to buy one along the shore. 

The Maritime Zone in Costa Rica

Costa Rica passed the Maritime Zone Law in 1977. This law established property ownership rights for beachfront property in Costa Rica. The law says the initial 50 meters from the high tide line are reserved for public use. Meanwhile, the next 150 meters are granted for leasing by local governments. This leased portion of the land is called a concession property. 

Concessions (Concesiones)

Concessions are typically leased for a period of 15 to 20 years. Concession rights are granted to private individuals or enterprises. They must pay an annual fee to the local government. After the term, this automatically renews. 

Once the concession has been granted, it is difficult to reverse it. So, unless the municipality has a compelling cause that they can prove in court, you will have it for a long time.

Owners will be able to enjoy the entire property for many years to come in most cases. The only thing they have to keep in mind is the limitations. They should know what they can do and cannot do within the land that has been leased to them.

Regulatory Plan (Plan Regulador)

The Plan Regulador contains all of the limitations’ specifics. The Plan Regulador is just the Zoning Plan. Interested parties can check to see if the location is zoned. They can check with the relevant municipality to see if the region is part of a coastal regulation plan. If you wish to build something that isn’t authorized in the Plan Regulador, you’ll have to get a permit.

Concession Owners requirements

As mentioned earlier, once granted you won’t have much to worry about if you adhere to the regulations. With that said, there are rigid requirements for those who want to apply.

  1. Must be a resident of Costa Rica for a minimum of 5 years
  2. Can be a Costa Rican individual or Costa Rican corporation which is at least 50% Costa Rican owned 

Interested parties should file a concession application. This should be filed in the municipality that has jurisdiction over the area.

Obtaining the concession right permits owners to seek authorization to develop. However, it is not the same as a building permit. Obtaining a construction permit is a distinct step. Obtaining a concession right is a lengthy and complicated procedure, but it is well worth it.

3. Consider your long-term goals for buying a property in Costa Rica

Buying property in one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations might be appealing. But, no matter how much you adore this Pura Vida paradise, it must be treated as any other type of investment. All investments carry some amount of risk, especially if you do not expect to hold them for the long term. What plans do you have for the property?

Consider the upkeep and if you can commit to it for the long run. 

Before you move to a beach house, you need to understand how to care for it. Because of its location, you will need to take special care to preserve your property in good condition.

It is important to do periodic maintenance on beach house properties. 

Even the best preventative measures and designs can fail.  Certain sections of a house just cannot be protected from the elements. Regular beach home maintenance will keep rust, mold, and corrosion at bay. 

Prevention is less expensive than having to cope with big restorations and repairs. Regular maintenance also avoids problems arising in the property as a result of gaps in the property’s state.

Investigate the property’s income-generating possibilities. 

Buying a beach house is a big investment. Investing in a beach house for vacation rentals might give a steady stream of income. Assuming you’re in an ideal location, which in Costa Rica isn’t difficult to come across.

Before investing in beach properties, it is critical to understand the underlying economics. Understand the benefits and the possibilities for future revenue creation or higher ROI. It is also necessary to understand the disadvantages and responsibilities. High insurance rates and huge costs, as well as the usual property upkeep headaches, might be drawbacks.

4. Knowledge of your neighborhood can offer you a lot of useful insights 

It is vital to consider the property’s future for future ROI, but nothing beats having a thorough understanding of the neighborhood and community. Costa Rica has a wide range of communities, each with its own distinct traits and features.

Select the best location and learn more about it. 

The most crucial factor is location. More significant than the structures on the site. You can always alter the home, but you can’t change the location. Find out why you, your family, or tourists will fall in love with the place. Find out what the region is renowned for and if there are any local hotspots or important facilities.

Beachfront or oceanfront? 

For individuals looking to invest in a beach house, you must be able to recognize the difference between these two alternatives. A beachfront property is one that is situated closest to the water and sand. Meanwhile, an oceanfront property is any property with an ocean view that is not necessarily located on the sandy region, say atop a cliff. If you are considering both options or if you prefer one from the other, make sure it is clear during your search.

Know the lifestyle options. 

Observing the community and getting local information are great ways to know what you are buying. It can set realistic expectations. Go deeper than your first impressions. How do locals live? How do expats live there? Is it an ideal location for visitors and expats?

For the most part of Costa Rica, people are well accustomed to accommodating tourists. They are quite friendly and hospitable to visitors. Ask good questions to locals when you get the chance to be friendly with them. You will see more of Costa Rica as you blend in and spend more time immersed in the community. 

Do your own research.  

Even if you don’t have the time and opportunity to explore Costa Rica, there are plenty of ways to research. You can do research online to have an idea of what the place is like. 

If you don’t have a particular area in mind for a home, you can do a general search until you locate anything that piques your interest. Find out where the best areas are for what you want to accomplish with the property.

For a big picture overview of Costa Rica, this article will provide you with plenty of information about places and lifestyles in Costa Rica. Read our Guide to Discovering the Best Places to Live in Costa Rica.

You may also look for blogs and personal experiences of living in Costa Rica. Both visitors and expats adore this country. There are several blogs on living in Costa Rica. You will discover incredible ideas and insider knowledge on suitable locations as well as the benefits and drawbacks of living there.

Knowing your neighborhood helps you identify your market’s earning potential. You’ll be able to assess how nice your area is and how investor-friendly the property is. Also, how well-liked it is among travelers. These factors will assist you in making smart choices and locating an appropriate investment.

5. Buy property only when you’re sure of what you’re paying for


Anticipate that you’ll have to prepare a sizeable downpayment to show that you are a serious investor. Make sure that you are knowledgeable about the prevailing taxes, fees, and how much money is involved overall. 


Insurance should always be factored into your budget. When purchasing a beach home property, flood insurance is usually required. The greater your proximity to the shore, the better your resale value. The only disadvantage is that the property is more likely to be impacted by natural calamities, necessitating higher insurance premiums and greater repair and maintenance costs.

Property Tax

The first tax that you will have to pay is the “impuesto de traspaso”. This is the property transfer tax. Prepare to pay an initial property tax of 1.5% of the entire purchase price, followed by a yearly tax of 0.25 percent. The tax should be paid at the municipality with authority over the property.

Expect a luxury house tax if you have purchased a luxury home. This is known as the “Impuesto Solidario para el Fortalecimiento de Programas de Vivienda.” This kind is a little more complicated. To compute it, you must first comprehend Spanish. It is important to ask your attorney or real estate agent if the property you are buying involves this tax. 

6. Expedite the entire process with a reliable real estate agent

Finding a competent real estate agent has a lot of advantages. And you should be aware of what to look for in a good one. Among them are the following:

  • Can give top alternatives from which to pick. A competent real estate agent should not simply present you with a plethora of alternatives that may overwhelm you. The realtor should be able to sift them for you, leaving you with only the best of the best alternatives for the home you desire.
  • Get exclusive information on fantastic offers. This can only be done by someone well-versed in the local market. A skilled real estate agent will be able to provide you with more information than you can find on your own.
  • A reputable agent will be able to give you local knowledge about the purchase procedure. Because the agent can detect anything out of the norm, you will have more security. Good agents are aware of the best local practices and what to avoid during the process. As a result, due diligence is ensured.

The best place to begin is by looking for a reputable agency to help you on your road to a successful investment in Costa Rica real estate. Costa Rican real estate may be an extremely profitable investment. Property values have steadily risen throughout the years. You should be able to discover a suitable investment home within your price range. You can avoid being taken advantage of if you are informed.

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